Iranian Women Take the Wheel

06/17/2011 11:25 am ET | Updated Aug 17, 2011

Originally published on, a digital information service surfacing emerging stories in news, entertainment, art and culture; powered by award-winning journalists .


Photo Credit: NEALAN AFSARI/Turnstyle

By: Nealan Afsari

EDITOR'S NOTE: We have concealed the identity of "Nikki" to protect her privacy.

Amid a sea of traffic that relentlessly fills the streets of Tehran, Iran, women are seizing an economic opportunity they never had before--an opportunity similar to one for which their counterparts in Saudi Arabia are now fighting. After the government started issuing taxi licenses to women, women are slowly but surely getting behind the wheel and experiencing the advantages of this potentially lucrative profession.

Following several months of being away from Iran, I visited its capital Tehran, eagerly anticipating the hustle and bustle of the sprawling city. Hopping in a taxi one day, I looked at the traffic around me and was quietly shocked at the number of green taxis navigating the roads. I thought the color green, made famous by the 2009 presidential campaign of Mir Hossein Mousavi and the ensuing post-election protests, imparted a political statement. The driver corrected my misunderstanding and pointed out that the rise in number of green taxis had nothing to do with politics, and that the only rebellion happening in the Iranian taxi culture is that women are now becoming paid drivers.


Photo Credit: NEALAN AFSARI/Turnstyle
Nikki navigates the streets of Tehran, Iran.

Until the moment I saw a taxi that read "Women's Taxi" on its door, I realized this evolution is not readily apparent at first sight. After all, in contrast to countries like Saudi Arabia that prohibit women from obtaining drivers' licenses--an issue which is again being challenged by women there--women in Iran have been driving for many years. In a major city like Tehran, where the population--and number of cars on the road--continually increases, and where some commutes within the boundaries of the city itself can take up to two hours each way, the use of taxis is an integral part of the city's transportation system. And now women are benefiting from the potential profits in this sector of the economy. READ MORE>>

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